To All the Boys: Always and Forever is a bittersweet goodbye

Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are back for the final installment in the trilogy. Major spoilers ahead!

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Almost three years after we first met Lara Jean (played by Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) on our screens, we’re watching them navigate their relationship during their senior year of high school in To All the Boys: Always and Forever. Through the turbulence of college acceptance season, big family changes, and decisions about the future, the couple embarks on their first “adult” challenge.

The highly anticipated third film in Jenny Han’s To All the Boys series has been released on Netflix ahead of Valentine’s Day, and exactly one year after the middle child of the trilogy, P.S. I Still Love You. Be warned, spoilers begin below!

Our high school sweethearts have their entire future mapped out, and Lara Jean can see it all in her head: four years together at Stanford University, moving in together, and even marriage. “You know what I’m looking forward to most about college? Never having to say goodnight,” croons Peter.

Lara Jean’s fantasy starts to slip away when she gets rejected from the school and they have to rework their plans. The pivotal senior trip to New York opens her eyes to the only east coast school she applied to: New York University. After an unforgettable night in the heart of the city with Chris and Gen, NYU is all she thinks about when she gets home.

The relatable problem high school seniors that are coupled up face is presented to Lara Jean. Should she go to college close to her boyfriend in California, or go to the school in the city she fell in love with and try long distance? When she makes her choice, it causes a slow-burning rift between LJ and PK with the candle going out after prom, leaving her heartbroken. Ultimately, they reconcile with a love letter Peter writes in her high school yearbook.

Lara Jean and Peter graduating in To All the Boys: Always and Forever.
Netflix

Always and Forever remains consistent with its predecessors in style; the centered subjects in-frame, bright and slightly saturated colors, and reflective narration from Lana Condor. Although the film is paying homage to its source material—and there was a lot to work with in the final book—at times it felt choppy with the title cards, when I wished it could have been a more linear viewing experience.

Nonetheless, when I read the trilogy after the first movie came out, I was most excited to see Always and Forever, Lara Jean come to life. There were lovely scenes between Condor and Centineo that I couldn’t help but hold my chin in the palm of my hands for.

The final film leaves viewers with a taste of post-high school life for Lara Jean and Peter as they head off to NYU and Stanford in a long-distance relationship. The entire trilogy is a modern-slash-old-school-slash-realistic take on romantic comedies for this generation, while the last installment whisks us all to the very end of high school where things can seem so unstable, but somehow end up working out for the best.

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